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Go West With Columbus



  • Social Studies
    ----World History


  • Pre K
  • K-2
  • 3-5

Brief Description

This game board activity reinforces map skills, map directions (north, east, south…).



  • use/reinforce their knowledge of map directions to play a simple board game.


directions, map, map skills, Columbus, game, north, south, east, west, northeast, southeast, southwest, northwest

Materials Needed

  • game board and game pieces
  • buttons, coins, and other similar objects to use a game board tokens
  • laminating film or contact paper (optional)

Lesson Plan

This teacher-created game reinforces directions (north, south, east, and west). You might use the game board and game pieces provided. Have students color the game pieces, then laminate or cover them with clear contact paper. You will want to produce several sets of game pieces.

Adapt the Game
You might use the game board and pieces to which we link above, or you might adapt the game by

  • creating a larger game board;
  • creating game pieces that include the directions northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest (if that is appropriate for students at your grade level).

    Game Rules

  • The game is suited for play by two to five players.
  • Turn over the game pieces and scatter them. Stack them upside down, randomly.
  • Each player uses a button, coin, colored paper clip, or any other token to represent him/her on the board. All players begin the game by placing their tokens in the START area of the game board. For purposes of direction, the START area of the game board is "dead East." On the game board the game title, "Go West With Columbus," is dead North.
  • Player 1 draws a card from the top of the stack, reads it aloud, and shows it to the other players. In order to make a move from the START area, Player 1 must draw a card that says "Go West" (West is the only direction that a player can move to enter the game board from the START area.) If Player 1 does not draw a "Go West" card, he or she sets aside the card and remains in the START area. Then it is Player 2's turn to draw a card from the stack
  • It is possible for a student to --- not be able to make a move because s/he cannot follow the instruction on the game card without going off the game board.
    --- end up back in the START area at any time during the game. (For example if a player draws a card that says "Go West One Space" on her first turn, she will end up back on START if she draws a "Go East One Space" card on her second turn.)
  • If the stack of game pieces runs out, collect the cards that players have set aside, scatter them upside down, and create a new randomly sorted stack.
  • Play continues until one player reaches a "You Win!" square on the game board.


    Students will correctly follow instructions on the game cards. You might wander the classroom while students are playing the game to ensure that students are following game instructions and know their directions. Option: Use a large map to create a short oral quiz that tests students knowledge of words of direction -- north, east, south, and west; and, if appropriate for your grade level, northeast, northwest, southeast, and southwest.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Bry-Back Manor

    National Standards 

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: Geography
    GRADES K - 12
    NSS-G.K-12.1 The World in Spatial Terms

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-USH.K-4.3 The History of the United States: Democratic Principles and Values and the People from Many Cultures Who Contributed to Its Cultural, Economic, and Political Heritage
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-USH.5-12.1 Era 1: Three Worlds Meet (Beginnings to 1620)

    SOCIAL SCIENCES: World History
    GRADES 5 - 12
    NSS-WH.5-12.6 Global Expansion and Encounter, 1450-1770

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    Copyright © 2005 Education World

    This lesson was originally posted on 09/30/2005